In celebration of the game winning field goal at Kentucky by bespectacled Rodrigo Blankenship, it’s time to take a look at the most prolific kickers in college football history.
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I’ve always said it takes a unique person to be a field goal kicker (or placekicker) in football. They are like referees or umpires: You usually don’t notice them until they’ve done something wrong.
So, let’s go back and take a look at the “Top 5” kickers of all time. As passionate as college football fans are, I’m sure I will leave out your favorite.
5.) Sebastian Janikowski, Florida State
Polish-born Janikowski was not only one of the best kickers in college football during his time at Florida State in the late ’90’s, he was also known to get in few bar fights as well. He was arrested for trying to bribe an officer and for a drug charge, but was later acquitted of both. He won the Lou Groza Award (given to the best college football kickers in the nation) twice: 1998 and 1999. Janikowski would forgo his senior season at Florida State in 2000 to enter the NFL draft. There he was picked 17th overall by the Oakland Raiders, becoming only the fourth placekicker ever to be selected in the first round.
4.) Tony Franklin, Texas A&M
Franklin, the barefoot kicker out of Big Spring, Texas, held 18 collegiate records when he finished school in 1978, including the longest field goal average in a career of 39.5 yards. He is best known for kicking two field goals over 60 yards in one game: he kicked one of 64 and then one of 65 on October 16, 1976 against Baylor. The 65-yard kick was, at that time, the longest kick in Division I college football history. Voted as an All-American for three years, Franklin was drafted in the third round by the Eagles in 1979. He also played for New England and Miami and was a Pro Bowl selection in 1985. The below footage of Texas A&M vs Baylor has no sound, but does show the field goals by Franklin in 1976.
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3.) Mason Crosby, Colorado
Crosby not only had a strong leg, but he was also great in the clutch where he made 12 of 13 fourth quarter field goals. He was perfect when the clock was under eight and a half minutes to go in the game. He holds 31 Colorado records and was named an All-American twice and All-Big 12 three times. Crosby was drafted by the Packers in the sixth round in 2007 and has enjoyed much success in the NFL, including helping Green Bay to the Super Bowl XVL championship.
2.) Alex Henery, Nebraska
Henery was All-Big 12 as both a punter and placekicker. He holds the college record for field goal accuracy at 89.5 percent. Inside the 40 yard line, he made 42 of 43 attempts (97.7 percent); outside the 40, he was 26 of 33 (78.8 percent). Throughout his four-year career at Nebraska (2007-2010), Henery set the NCAA career record for highest field goal percentage (89.5 percent) with a minimum of 55 attempts. He was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round in 2011 and had two very good years. However, he has not played in the NFL since being released by the Lions in 2014.
1.) Kevin Butler, Georgia
The Georgia native and Redan High School star was an All-American in 1983 and 1984 and was named to the Sports Illustrated and Walter Camp All-Century teams. In field goals of more than 50 yards, he hit an amazing 52.4 percent of his attempts. He is the only place kicker in the College Football Hall of Fame. Butler was drafted by the Bears in the fourth round of the 1985 draft and was a key member of the Bears Super Bowl Championship team during his rookie season. He spent 13 years in the NFL and now is an associate coach with the Georgia Bulldogs where he works with the kickers on the team. One of his most prized pupils is…you guessed it…Rodrigo Blankenship.
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